Jimena Lopez has fashioned a rich, bold-flavored wine in her 2015 Graffito Mendoza Cabernet Franc – her first Cabernet Franc under the Graffito label. Although deeper in color and fuller in flavor than many of its Old World counterparts, Graffito’s debut Cabernet Franc retains the haunting aroma and overt charm for which Bordeaux Cabernet Franc is renowned. Red and black currant aromas mixed with leafy and spice tones waft from the glass. In the mouth, the 2015 Graffito Cabernet Franc expands for hours, revealing layers of flavor that emanate from a core of rich fruit imbued with deft touches of chocolate, coffee, and spices. Earning a stellar 93-points from James Suckling, this deep, textured Cabernet Franc is held together by ripe, well-integrated tannins that add lift but never sear. Who could say the same about the tannins in a young Cabernet Sauvignon comparable in stature to Graffito’s 2015 Cabernet Franc? For optimal enjoyment, we suggest decanting Jimena Lopez’s finely crafted 2015 Cabernet Franc and affording it at least thirty minutes of aeration before serving. Enjoy!
The rich, complex flavors and supreme balance of the 2015 Graffito Cabernet Franc pair beautifully with all kinds of meats and grilled vegetables. Rare, juicy steaks, game birds, winter stews, and hearty meat and cheese lasagnas provide tasty accompaniments to Jimena Lopez’s extroverted Cabernet Franc. Veal and lamb deserve to be on that list as well. Veal Medallions wrapped with prosciutto ham get a serious nod as does Roast Colorado Rack of Lamb, served with potato gnocchi, pearl onions, and mushrooms. Roast duck served with a berry sauce over wild rice, and roast turkey stuffed with an onion and sage dressing also make splendid companions. And although Cabernet Franc is not a wine we would normally serve with seafood, there is always the exception. If you are beholden to the sea, consider serving Graffito’s 2015 Cabernet Franc with Pepper Crusted Salmon served with a Cabernet Franc Blackberry sauce. And if the truth be told, with a little aeration and in the company of a few morsels of a flavorful cheese such as Gouda, Havarti or Port Salut, the 2015 Graffito Cabernet Franc will shine in any clean glass. Enjoy!
Winemaker Jimena Lopez owns and operates Graffito, overseeing everything from tending the estate’s more than century old vines to making each of her award winning wines – all of which exhibit beautiful expression, structure, and texture. Jimena’s concentrated and deeply colored wines are named after the dark mineral graphite. Jimena left her corporate wine job and two decades of making wine in seven countries, including France, Germany and the U.S. (California), to pursue her dream of making her own wine, so that she could handle all aspects of winemaking from vine selection to the final blend. She believes so deeply in her wine and is so committed to quality from vineyard to table that she puts her fingerprint stamp of approval right on the label.
Graffito sprang to life when Jimena came across an old-vine Malbec vineyard planted in 1908 in Mendoza’s Alto Agrelo region that had been farmed by Don Pepe and his family. The balance and structure that these old vines yielded quickly became the pillars upon which Graffito rests. Since then, Jimena has further spread her wings by fashioning exceptional Cabernet Franc; this month’s feature, the 2015 Graffito Cabernet Franc, makes its debut with The International Wine of the Month Club. Jimena utilizes only estate fruit or grapes from old, family-owned vineyards in Los Arboles and Vistaflores in the Uco Valley that allow her to create in her wines the perfect blend of fruit flavors, floral notes, spices, and tannins. Jimena is truly a passionate, dedicated winemaker with tenacious drive and an unparalleled attention to detail. Her winemaking principles reflect her passion and personality. “In my eyes, good winemaking is simple winemaking,” she states unabashedly. “It [winemaking] needs to start in the vineyard. The good quality and purity of the grapes is essential. We can have the best technology in the winery, but what you don’t have in the vineyards you can’t have in the cellar. I believe there are three things that make the difference in great winemaking: Know-how, obsession for details, and above all passion.” No wonder that Graffito consistently receives high ratings from top wine reviewers and its wines have become some of Argentina’s most sought after.
Although reluctant to rely on gender stereotyping of grape varietals or their particular characteristics, a compelling case can be made for describing Cabernet Franc as the feminine side of Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Franc, whose origin appears to be the Pyrenees Mountains in southwest France, is one of Bordeaux’s oldest and most prestigious grape varietals. It predates Cabernet Sauvignon by many centuries and recent DNA testing has determined that Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc constitute the actual forebearers of Cabernet Sauvignon and not the other way around as was once thought.
In its spiritual home of Bordeaux, Cabernet Franc figures prominently in both Left and Right Bank wines, with the most esteemed Right Bank appellations of Pomerol and St. Émilion relying more heavily on Cabernet Franc’s propensity to ripen earlier than its more famous offspring, Cabernet Sauvignon. Add Cabernet Franc’s hauntingly beautiful fragrance, enticing berry, currant and leafy flavors, along with rounder, more accessible tannins than its progeny, Cabernet Sauvignon, and it is easy to see why Cabernet Franc is uniformly esteemed in Bordeaux and increasingly sought after by New World wineries.
Enjoy Limited Production Estate
Discover limited production estate bottled wines such as Vergenoegd's internationally
acclaimed 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, imported exclusively for our members.